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The bedroom door rattles and I have a split second to decide whether to remain standing in the hallway or take the element of surprise and use it to my best advantage.
It isn't a difficult decision.
I slip into the bathroom, shutting the light off and closing the door halfway just as the primary liar opens the bedroom door. This liar is my main goal, the one I plan to kill last. I want his psychological damage to be the greatest, want his death to be begged for. It'll take some work, and I've planned for that, but in the end, it will be very much worth it.
Starting with when he catches sight of his cheating boyfriend's unconscious body resting against the wall next to the bathroom door. The sound he makes is splendid, a choked thing that is part shock and part worry with the tiniest stirrings of fear. Not that I blame him for the fear. John is over six foot, at least a buck eighty soaking wet and not all of that is muscle. So whatever took him out and left the dark smear on the wall above him had to be strong. Sure, there's a possibility he was sick, or tired, and stumbled and knocked himself out. It was plausible. Highly unlikely, but plausible.
I watch as he stands there, frozen in place just in front of the bathroom door, brain coming to the swift conclusion that John wasn't sick or tired. Watch as he realizes exactly what I want him to: that those that live in the apartment aren't the only ones in the apartment. That's what sends him rushing to John's side, hands fluttering at his neck to check for a pulse, to pat at his face, card through his hair.
"John... fuck. John?" The fear in his voice is more than a stirring, it's full-blown and makes me smile. "Shit. John, what the fuck happened? Answer me! Come on, wake up. John!"
As John comes to, groaning as he does so, I move through the bathroom towards the door that leads to their bedroom. I know he'll name me, say I'm probably in the bathroom 'cause the light is off and he'd left it on. Only I won't be there. My hope is that one will go downstairs while the other stays upstairs. And I'll take them down separately, stage John's body so that his lover finds him just as it's too late to save him.
Which reminds me, I need to collect their phones, make it impossible for them to call for help. I had destroyed my shit lister's phone before I'd left his room but hadn't been able to find the harlot's, not that I had looked that hard, admittedly. But I doubted they'd go to the only female in the apartment for help against me. These two were nothing if not misogynistic.
"Asher." John's voice holds that thickness to it that you get when your nose is stuffed up. Definitely came close to breaking his nose. "It's him. He's here."
I'm in the bedroom now, closing the bathroom door behind me just as silently as I had opened it. Their voices are hushed but I can still catch my name, the syllables easy to hear even through the couple of walls that separate me from them. They would have to be signing to not be heard talking in this apartment, the walls are so thin.
And sure enough, they go completely silent as I frown with disgust at the absolutely trashed state of their bedroom. I clearly need to keep them locked in here rather than have spent the time to rearrange the downstairs. Rolling my eyes for what was likely the hundredth time since getting here, I cross to the bar table near the open closet door doing my best to find a clear spot of floor for each step. It's basically impossible; piles of clothes, shoes, shopping bags, and other miscellaneous junk I can't fully place in the shadows of the room litter the floor. The blinds are open so the sickly yellow of the street light filters through them but the carpet beneath the filth is a dark grey that in the barely lifted darkness of the room looks the same shade of shadow as everything else.
Spotting their phones on the table just like I knew they would be, I methodically go about taking out the SIM cards and tossing them into the trashed abyss of the bedroom. The bathroom door from the hall-side slams open against the interior wall as I'm putting the useless phones back in their spots, the light clicking on. They're so damn predictable.
As the shower curtain flails on its hangers, I peek around the halfway open bedroom door and grin seeing the hallway empty, and hear their whispers from the bathroom. I'm stepping into the hallway as the bedroom-side bathroom door slams open, closing the bedroom door nearly all the way in my wake. For a couple searching for an intruder that attacked one of them, they should really rethink making so much noise.
No one ever said they were smart, though.
As they begin to search the small bedroom, whispers getting heated—they never could not argue even when doing so was counterproductive to their continued safety—I grab up my pint glass and head down the stairs.
A snapped, "Just because you didn't see him doesn't mean he isn't here!" follows me to the first landing. I stifle my snort as Asher's response comes, too muffled for me to entirely catch it.
But John's response is exactly what I wanted to hear as I make it to the bottom of the stairs and once again avoid the carefully scattered shoes on the floor.
"I'm going to check downstairs. Go see if Aaron or Sarah heard me slam my own damn head against the wall."
Everything is going perfectly.